By: Ryan Gasser, sports information director
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Golfers around the globe know what cold, wet and windy conditions can do for an individual's game. Battling one's opponent is difficult enough, but try taking on an incredibly strong conference and region with minimal practice time due to Mother Nature.
This spring, the Capital University men's and women's golf teams have taken one of those factors out of the equation. Now the Crusaders have a place to call their own that will better prepare them for their spring season and that place is the newly transformed Varsity C Indoor Golf Training Facility.
The desire for the facility has always existed, but the unexpected closing of Capital's former home course - Oakhurst Country Club in Grove City, Ohio - created an immediate need for grounds to train on. Fickle Ohio weather factors in at all times of the year which made an indoor option all the more desirable. As soon as the news on the closing broke, Capital Head Golf Coach Garcia proactively inquired about unused space on campus that could be used to build something for his student-athletes.
Luckily, he had a few options.
The training facility resides in the basement area of the Trinity Lutheran Seminary at Capital University, located on the corner of Main Street and College Avenue in Bexley. The area was formerly the Trinity's bookstore that served those studying at the seminary, but had not been used in nearly eight years. Now, it is now the on-campus home of Capital Golf.
"Once we got here [the Trinity basement], I just kind of fell in love with this space. It's kind of got a little bit of character and a country club feel to it," said Garcia.
While this location was the largest, Garcia admitted that it also needed the most work to make his vision a reality.
What were bookshelves have been converted into personal lockers for each golfer to leave their belongings in a secure location. This will also eliminate storage space in each player's living quarters and players trekking across campus with all of their equipment.
The area that served as a checkout station is now adorned with various Capital Golf trophies and memorabilia, and can serve as an observation post.
Two 15-foot by 6-foot synthetic turf putting greens that meet current NCAA stimp reading standards have been installed on the main floor surface. Team members can easily move from the putting green to the center of the room to practice chipping into a strategically placed chipping basket, and then continue in the practice space towards two hitting bays designed for driver and wood work, as well as irons.
Over the last year, Cap Golf has also invested in cutting edge technology that enhances the abilities of the newly constructed training facility. Coach Garcia and the Crusaders now use a device called the Mevo Launch Monitor which can take precise measurements of swing angles and speeds, launch direction, hit distance, and collect other data that can be displayed to a mobile device via Bluetooth technology and interpreted in order to improve individual performance. With its mobility and flexibility to use indoors and outdoors, the training area has additional value when in use alongside Mevo technology.
To make all of this happen, Varsity C, the alumni support group of Capital University Athletics, made a donation to cover some of the costs of this project. Other Capital Golf alumni also made contributions to go along with the personal investment Coach Garcia made to make the room a reality. Over the next five years, Garcia hopes to continue building upon the foundation that has been set. This includes visions of a golf simulator being installed in what is now a storage room and installing a professional turf putting green that covers the entire surface of the training facility.
"Recruiting-wise, it puts us at a different level," says Garcia. "In talking about everything with other coaches in the OAC, between having this facility as well as our new home course we have the best facilities in the OAC, hand down … there is no comparison."
The facility opened in February for use by the Capital golf teams and helped the Crusaders prepare for its annual spring break trip.
"I think it's huge," said senior Logan Holbrook. "It's been awesome being able to putt inside, to swing inside, to do anything of that sort that helps us get better. I think [the new training facility] has prepped us way better than it has in the past years with our other facility."